EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Patents Roundup: OIN, ESP, Microsoft and Apple

Posted in Africa, Apple, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 6:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell soup

PATENTS — and in particular software patents — have become an important issue to Free software. That is because, having already shown superiority in many areas (e.g. Apache on the server, Firefox on the client side), Free software faces injurious intimidation from miserable companies that — failing to compete based on technical merits — resort to litigation or preemptive threat (FUD). Here are some of the latest tidbits to be aware of.


The OIN takes a very different approach to that of End Software Patents (ESP). The former uses the patent system to defend against certain software patents, whereas the latter seeks to abolish software patents altogether. OIN is mostly backed by companies that possess software patents (large corporations), whereas the latter caters for small players which long ago realised that this system only serves as a gatekeeper for status quo — one that keeps competition out of the market. It’s not even about Free software; any small played is equally vulnerable and stifled regardless of its attitude towards Freedom. As Marco Schulze from Nightlabs Gmbh put it, “small software companies cannot afford to go to court or pay damages. Who is this software patent system for?”

Digital Majority has found something rather interesting. About RMS and his work, said head of the OIN:

Because of the legacy of Richard Stallman in the, when you’re trying to drive a new paradigm it almost requires a certain level of extremism and I think, you know, so I am not in any way saying that Richard Stallman’s view was a defective one given the times but I think a more balanced view that we now have the benefit of time and being able to adopt and take is that it’s not about throwing the baby out with the bathwater, all intellectual property is not bad and to be rejected by the open source community. I am not anti patent, I am clearly focused on improving the quality of patents and ensuring that there is greater granularity in what ultimately does get granted by the patent and trademark offices around the world so that the patent system is back to what it was designed to be.

This is why companies like IBM call it “Linux” and distance themselves from a doctrine of ethics (GNU). They quietly cherish intellectual monopolies on software, despite the fact that there is something inherently flawed in them. The South African press has just published an article which recites the words of Geraldine Fraser Moleketi.

In March 2008, the Third Idlelo Conference on Free and Open Source Software and Digital Commons was held in Dakar, Senegal by the Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA). South Africa’s then Minister for Public Service and Administration, Geraldine Fraser Moleketi, stated: “The adoption of open standards by governments is a critical factor in building interoperable information systems which are open, accessible, and fair and which reinforce democratic culture and good governance practices”. The minister further said patents are “exclusive and anticompetitive in their nature” and there is no reason to believe society benefits from monopolies granted on computer program inventions.

It seems clear there is some disunity within government and its agencies, when the Innovation Fund through its funding instruments is urging the filing of patent applications in the ICT sector to enhance economic growth and competitiveness, while on the other hand a government minister suggests that patenting of computer program inventions is undesirable.

Details about this can be found in Tectonic and the video right here in Boycott Novell. We also recommend the new talk from Ciaran O’Riordan regarding software patents. There is a bunch of points in his Web site as well. Georg Greve claimed the other day that “UMTS patent thicket [is] amounting to 10.000 patents, according to France Telecom/Orange.”

Who benefits from this sordid chaos? It is a big maze of unnecessary complexity.

Microsoft and Apple

Someone has found this good page which accumulates information about Microsoft and software patents. Here is a good sample of the type of things Microsoft wants a 20-year monopoly on.

There are many patents held by Microsoft which should have been denied due to the existance of prior art or because they’re self-evident and are not true inventions as defined by U.S. patent law:

* Double-clicking a button (6,727,830)
* Grouping task bar buttons (6,756,999)
* Two-way scroll mouse (6,700,564)
* Task list generated for software developers (6,748,582)
* Using the human body as a conductive medium for power and data (6,754,472) (much prior art done by research labs)
* The equivalent of the sudo Unix command (6,775,781) as old as at least 1980

Mary Jo Foley discusses the novelty of multi-touch because Apple and Microsoft both claim ownerships in the area, despite the fact that neither has really been an inventor. As Bill Gates once said in reference to Xerox (probably the pioneer/inventor of touchscreens too), “Hey, Steve [Jobs], just because you broke into Xerox’s store before I did and took the TV doesn’t mean I can’t go in later and steal the stereo.”

The multi-touch patent game: Who was first?


While Apple and Palm have tussled over who “owns” multi-touch, Microsoft has kept surprisingly silent.

Apple’s obsession with weird patents has gotten the wrath of The Register yesterday. It was having loads of fun on April 1st.

Another subsection of the filing lists an “electronic device for the inculcation of data-denial modalities among front-line liveware”. This iPod-like device can be securely locked into a trainee’s ear canal, where it will repeat an infinite loop of denial vocabulary until switched off by a prequalified Apple HR officer.

Another joke came from the FFII:

FFII and EPO announce ‘Binaries-As-Prior-Art’

After years of confidential work, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) today announce a radical way to improve software patent quality: Binaries-As-Prior-Art, or BAPA. BAPA combines a database of billions of compiled computer programs (“binaries”) with a powerful Cloud search engine that can find any invention in microseconds.

There is nothing funny about an utterly broken patent system, but good humour on this special day sheds light on obvious problems; it contains or brings out an element of truth.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New

  1. From PTAB Bashing to Federal Circuit (CAFC) Bashing: How the Patent 'Industry' Sells Software Patents

    The latest tactics of the patent microcosm are just about as distasteful as last month's (or last year's), with focus shifting to the courts and few broadly-misinterpreted patent cases (mainly Finjan, Berkheimer, and Aatrix)

  2. Patent Maximalists Keep Coming Up With New Terms and Buzzwords to Bypass the Practical Ban on Software Patents

    The fightback against Section 101 and the US Supreme Court (notably Alice) seems to concentrate on old and new buzzwords, such as "Software as a Medical Device" ("SaMD") or "Fourth Industrial Revolution" ("4IR"), which the EPO recently paid European media to spread and promote

  3. News About Patents is Often Just Advertisements Composed Directly or Indirectly by Companies That Sell Patents and Patent Services

    Infomercials are still dominant among news about patents, in effect drowning out the signal (real journalism) and instead pushing agenda that is detached from reality, pertinent facts, objective assessment, public interest and so on

  4. Blocks and Paywalls Won't Protect the Patent Trolls' Lobby From Scrutiny/Fact-Checking

    Joff Wild and Benoît Battistelli have much in common, including patent maximalism and chronic resistance to facts (or fact-checking)

  5. China Has Become Very Aggressive With Patents

    China now targets other Asian countries/firms -- more so than Western firms -- with patent lawsuits; we expect this to get worse in years to come

  6. UPC/Battistelli Booster IAM Blames Brexit Rather Than EPO Abuses

    While the EPO is collapsing due to mismanagement the boosters of Team Battistelli would rather deflect and speak about Brexit, which is itself partly motivated by such mismanagement

  7. European Commission Again Urged to Tackle Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Rina Ronja Kari is the latest MEP attempting to compel the Commission to actually do something about the EPO other than turning a blind eye

  8. Links 18/3/2018: Wine 3.4, Wine-Staging 3.4, KDE Connect 1.8 for Android

    Links for the day

  9. TXED Courts Are Causing Businesses to Leave the District, Notably For Fear That Having Any Operations Based There is a Legal Liability

    A discussion about the infamous abundance of patent cases in the Eastern District of Texas (TXED/EDTX) and what this will mean for businesses that have branches or any form of operations there (making them subjected to lawsuits in that district even after TC Heartland)

  10. PTAB Hatred is So Intense Among the Patent 'Industry' That Even Scammers Are Hailed as Champions If They Target PTAB

    The patent microcosm is so eager to stop the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that it's supporting sham deals (or "scams") and exploits/distorts the voice of the new USPTO Director to come up with PTAB-hostile catchphrases

  11. The Patent 'Industry' is Increasingly Mocking CAFC and Its Judges Because It Doesn't Like the Decisions

    Judgmental patent maximalists are still respecting high courts only when it suits them; whenever the outcome is not desirable they're willing to attack the legitimacy of the courts and the competence of judges, even resorting to racist ad hominem attacks if necessary

  12. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Carries on Enforcing § 101, Invalidating Software Patents and Upsetting the Patent 'Industry' in the Process

    A quick report on where PTAB stands at the moment, some time ahead of the Oil States decision (soon to come from the US Supreme Court)

  13. Luxembourg Can Become a Hub of Patent Trolls If the EPO Carries on With Its 'Reforms', Even Without the UPC

    With or without the Unified Patent Court (UPC), which is the wet dream of patent trolls and their legal representatives, the EPO's terrible policies have landed a lot of low-quality patents on the hands of patent trolls (many of which operate through city-states that exist for tax evasion -- a fiscal environment ripe for shells)

  14. The Patent 'Printing Machine' of the EPO Will Spawn Many Lawsuits and Extortions (Threats of Lawsuits), in Effect Taxing Europe

    The money-obsessed, money-printing patent office, where the assembly line mentality has been adopted and patent-printing management is in charge, is devaluing or diluting the pool of European Patents, more so with restrictions (monetary barriers) to challenging bad patents

  15. Links 17/3/2018: Varnish 6, Wine 3.4

    Links for the day

  16. Deleted EPO Tweets and Promotion of Software Patents Amid Complaints About Abuse and Demise of Patent Quality

    Another ordinary day at the EPO with repressions of workforce, promotion of patents that aren't even allowed, and Team UPC failing to get its act together

  17. Guest Post: Suspected “Whitewashing” Operations by Željko Topić in Croatia

    Articles about EPO Vice-President Željko Topić are disappearing and sources indicate that it’s a result of yet more SLAPP from him

  18. Monumental Effort to Highlight Decline in Quality of European Patents (a Quarter of Examiners Sign Petition in Spite of Fear), Yet Barely Any Press Coverage

    he media in Europe continues to be largely apathetic towards the EPO crisis, instead relaying a bunch of press releases and doctored figures from the EPO; only blogs that closely follow EPO scandals bothered mentioning the new petition

  19. Careful Not to Conflate UPC Critics With AfD or Anti-EU Elements

    The tyrannical Unified Patent Court (UPC) is being spun as something that only fascists would oppose after the right-wing, anti-EU politicians in Germany express strong opposition to it

  20. Links 15/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.6 RC, Microsoft Openwashing

    Links for the day

  21. PTAB Continues to Increase Capacity Ahead of Oil States; Patent Maximalists Utterly Upset

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) sees the number of filings up to an almost all-time high and efforts to undermine PTAB are failing pretty badly -- a trend which will be further cemented quite soon when the US Supreme Court (quite likely) backs the processes of PTAB

  22. Patent Maximalists Are Still Trying to Create a Patent Bubble in India

    Litigation maximalists and patent zealots continue to taunt India, looking for an opportunity to sue over just about anything including abstract ideas because that's what they derive income from

  23. EPO Staff Has Just Warned the National Delegates That EPO's Decline (in Terms of Patent Quality and Staff Welfare) Would Be Beneficial to Patent Trolls

    The staff of the EPO increasingly recognises the grave dangers of low-quality patents -- an issue we've written about (also in relation to the EPO) for many years

  24. The EPO is a Mess Under Battistelli and Stakeholders Including Law Firms Will Suffer, Not Just EP Holders

    As one last 'gift' from Battistelli, appeals are becoming a lot more expensive -- the very opposite of what he does to applications, in effect ensuring a sharp increase in wrongly-granted patents

  25. The EPO Under Battistelli Has Become Like China Under Xi and CPC

    The EPO is trying very hard to silence not only the union but also staff representatives; it's evidently worried that the lies told by Team Battistelli will be refuted and morale be affected by reality

  26. Links 14/3/2018: IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 119, Tails 3.6

    Links for the day

  27. Links 13/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.5.2, Tails 3.6, Firefox 59

    Links for the day

  28. Willy Minnoye (EPO) Threatened Staff With Disabilities Said to Have Been Caused by the EPO Work Pressures

    Willy Minnoye, or Battistelli's 'deputy' at the EPO until last year, turns out to have misused powers (and immunity) to essentially bully vulnerable staff

  29. IAM and IBM Want Lots of Patent Litigation in India

    Having 'championed' lobbying for litigation Armageddon in China (where IBM's practicing business units have gone), patent maximalists set their eyes on India

  30. The Patent Trolls' Lobby (IAM) Already Pressures Andrei Iancu, Inciting a USPTO Director Against PTAB

    Suspicions that Iancu might destroy the integrity of the Office for the sake of the litigation ‘industry’ may be further reaffirmed by the approach towards patent maximalists from IAM, who also participated in the shaming of his predecessor, Michelle Lee, and promoted a disgraced judge (and friend of patent trolls) for her then-vacant role


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time


Recent Posts